Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Full Body Apparition Photo Raises Hopes, Questions

A paranormal investigator by the name of Kristen Sheley sent these images to Paul Dale Roberts, investigator and columnist for the webzine, Alien Seeker News.

Sheley claims the images depict a full-body apparition captured in one frame but not in the next. And there does seem to be some man-like object at the end of the hall. As someone who has studied art extensively, I can tell you the proportions are mostly correct. However, we would have to assume this individual is obese or wearing a heavy winter coat with his or her hands inside its pockets. It seems the hands don't quite reach down to where they should if they were just resting at his or her sides.

Purported full-body apparitions caught on film or digital media are increasingly rare these days. Orbs or Spirit Mists seem to be all the rage. But there was a time when most all ghost photos were of these apparitions. However, through years of debunked hoaxes, the concept fell out of vogue - no one trusted them to be true anymore. It was too much to hope for, I suppose.

We can't be certain how strict Sheley's methodology was. Were she and her fellow investigators wandering aimlessly, snapping photos like foreign tourists, unaware of each others movements? I've seen it many times before. It does happen.

But maybe we should give this investigator the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she has captured what few have - for what good it does us. It's a great photo but does it draw us any closer to understanding these phenomena? Will it sway the unrepentant skeptics? I wouldn't bank on it - nor will they.

Perhaps this investigator will continue to study this location and only this location in hopes that further data will arise. But I doubt it. Chances are this team has already carved a notch in their headboard and moved on. I think only time-intensive studies of active sites using strict protocols will yield the results necessary to begin properly tackling enigmas such as full-body apparitions.


Buck said...

It's quite interesting but my concerns are firstly that this is a "meetup" group and not an established group with protocols. While it shows the value of the "control" shot none of the photos either on the article site nor the actual meetup pages of the group contain the EXIF data of the photo so there's no way to know that the photo hasn't been retouched.

I really wish people would learn that it is important that the full data be available for review before it's put out as a real photo. Beyond that the article states that because they caught "orbs" they consider it supporting evidence the figure is what they believe.

On my skeptic meter it's on the "interesting" end but far from what most groups would release as "proof" or "evidence" due to the problems with the data being excluded.


Ken said...

As far as the proportions are concerned, this building was a former school, so given that tidbit I would say the proportions would not be quite as normal as a full-grown adult. I wouldn't expect details like hands to necessarily come into play either since apparitions are often missing body parts, either from accidents or some unknown byproduct of materialization.

True, we have no way of knowing for sure if this is legit or not, but still it's interesting and the exposure to differing people and objective viewers is a good thing.

Just to put on my devil's advocate hat for a moment: I don't believe it's so bad to have people who aren't experts, involved in "serious" paranormal groups (and we all know how few of those truly are), or scientific attempt to capture evidence. These things can happen at any times, so anyone really can capture unexplainable phenomena.

But lastly, I want to say that this is one big reason I dislike the use of digital anything in this field. There is no such thing as a hard copy in the digital world... No negative to analyze. Plate to scrutinize. Technology may be a blessing, yet it is also our curse.

Cullan Hudson said...

Valid points from both. I agree with Buck, in lieu of film (as Ken suggests) the EXIF data should be attached or available. It's the closest thing digital has to a negative to examine. And I am all for the amateur investigator, so long as they proceed professionally. But as Buck pointed out, I guess this was a "meetup" group and so they may have just been ghost hunting in the purest sense of the word. In which case, I wouldn't expect them to do more than just have a good time. Also, I hadn't thought about the child aspect; if the child were young enough, the arms wouldn't reach as far down but any school age child should still have fingertips that roughly reach to their mid-thigh.

It is amazing to see how much excitement a full-body apparition can stir up - it's the holy grail. I have, I believe, seen one (maybe two) but never captured such a thing on film. Frankly, I've never captured more than one coincidentally positioned orb photo and a strange light anomaly that looked like a flare but couldn't have been because my back was to the sun and there were no surfaces (that I know of) from which a reflection could happen. So, for anyone to get something this tantalizing (assuming it is legit), is amazing and I would just love to know more about it, which is why I urge those "meetup" folks to pass the location onto a skilled, experienced team who would be willing to spend more time at that location.